Workshop in EEG Frequency-tagging in Visual Neuroscience: Conceptual & Technical Advances

From Norcia et al. Journal of Vision 2015


Bruno Rossion, Anthony Norcia, Ramesh Srinivasan, Jan Atkinson, Oliver Braddick, Talia Retter, Joan Liu-Shuang


The workshop will begin September 24th at 9:00 AM and conclude September 27th at 1 PM. These days immediately follow the OSA Vision Meeting which will be held in Reno from September 20th – 23rd


The goal of this workshop is to provide an introduction and survey, at both the conceptual and technical levels, of the core principles underlying a particular type of visual evoked potential obtained when stimulating the brain at a (fast) periodic rate, the so-called “Steady State Visual Evoked Potential” and its application to human sensory and cognitive processing.


It has long been observed that the brain synchronizes its activity exactly to the temporal frequency of a stimulus (e.g., a flickering light, Adrian & Matthews, 1934). Analysis of the resulting steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEPs) in the frequency domain were first introduced over 50 years ago as a means to objectively study visual sensation and perception (Regan, 1966). Over the years, this approach has been extended to other modalities (auditory, somesthesic). From the first single-channel recording of responses to simple visual stimuli, to the present use of sophisticated stimulators comprised of complex stimuli and high-density EEG recording arrays, periodic stimulation methods are starting to be applied in a broad range of scientific and applied settings, in particular in vision research.

The strengths of this approach are its high objectivity (brain responses being measured at experimentally predefined frequencies), its high sensitivity (i.e., high signal-to-noise ratio) and the possibility to measure low- and high-level visual processes without explicit behavioral response, with identical protocols across various populations (healthy adult participants, infants and children, neurological and psychiatric diseases …). However, this research paradigm also raises many conceptual and technical issues in terms of stimulation, data analysis and interpretation.

The purpose of this workshop is to describe the fundamental stimulation and analysis protocols for this fast periodic stimulation mode in vision and to illustrate these principles through research findings across a range of applications in visual neuroscience, including clinical and developmental populations.

Topics covered

1. Introduction to the concepts and designs of EEG (MEG) frequency-tagging, recording issues

2. Applications to low-level vision

3. Applications to high-level vision: Face and Word categorization

4. Applications to development & clinical populations

5. Attention, task modulations, and adaptation

6. Conceptual and technical issues, including intermodulations

7. Sweep paradigms in Vision

8. Time-domain information

9. Frequency-tagging in intracerebral recordings and fMRI

Workshop projects

1. The stimulation: vision

2. Data analysis 1 (letswave 6)

3. Data analysis 2 (letswave 6)

4. Data analysis 3 (letswave 6)


1. Bruno Rossion (Université de Lorraine)

2. Anthony Norcia (Stanford)

3. Ramesh Srinivasan (UC Irvine)

4. Jan Atkinson (Oxford)

5. Oliver Braddick (Oxford)

6. Talia Retter (University of Nevada, Reno)

7. Joan Liu-Shuang (Université de Louvain)

8. Coralie Hemptinne (Université de Louvain)

Application information

To apply, send a CV and letter of motivation explaining why you wish to attend the workshop to Bruno Rossion at Applications from students and postdoctorates should also include a letter of support from their faculty advisor. The due date for applications is July 30.

Space is limited to 60 participants. To accommodate this, additional members from the same lab will be given lower priority.


Participants should bring a laptop with Matlab 2012 or later installed. We will provide the required Letswave 6 toolbox. Attendance for the entire workshop is encouraged


A registration fee of $300 is due upon acceptance, with successful applicants informed via email. The fee includes all course material and workshop banquet. Registration does not include other meals or accommodation.

Travel and accommodation

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Silver Legacy Resort and Casino. Booking can be done online or calling 800-687-8733. To receive the conference rate of $60 + $20 resort fee per night, please use the code "SSVEP8" when making your reservation.

Several other large hotel casinos are also located on Virginia Street and close to the campus, including the El Dorado and Circus Circus casinos, both connected to the Silver Legacy, and nearby Harrah's Casino.

If you prefer to stay in a hotel without a casino the recommended options are:

Whitney Peak Hotel, an outdoor-sports themed hotel boasting the highest rock-climbing wall in the world (rooms can also be accessed by elevator).

Renaissance Hotel: an upscale hotel overlooking the Truckee River.


By air:

Reno-Tahoe International Airport has connections to destinations throughout the US. Free shuttles to and from the airport are available for most of the large hotels.

By ground:

Reno is a scenic 4 hour drive from San Francisco through the Sierras via I-80. It can also be reached from the San Francisco Bay Area by bus service or Amtrak.

Recommended publications to review prior to the workshop

  1. Ales, J., Farzin, F., Rossion, B., Norcia, A.M. (2012). An objective method for measuring face detection thresholds using the sweep steady-state evoked response. Journal of Vision, 12:18, 1-18.
  2. Ales, J. M., & Norcia, A. M. (2009). Assessing direction-specific adaptation using the steady-state visual evoked potential: Results from EEG source imaging. Journal of Vision, 9(7):8, 1–13,, doi:10.1167/9.7.8
  3. Appelbaum, L. G., Wade, A. R., Vildavski, V. Y., Pettet, M. W., & Norcia, A. M. (2006). Cue invariant networks for figure and background processing in human visual cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 26(45), 11695–11708.
  4. Boremanse, A., Norcia, A.M., Rossion, B. (2013). An objective signature for visual binding of face parts in the human brain. Journal of Vision, (11):6, 1-18.
  5. Braddick, O. J., Atkinson, J., & Wattam-Bell, J. R. (1986). Development of the discrimination of spatial phase in infancy. Vision Research, 26(8), 1223–1239.
  6. De Heering, A. & Rossion, B. (2015). Rapid categorization of faces in the infant right hemisphere. eLife. 2015;4:e06564.
  7. Gao, X., Gentile, F., Rossion, B. (in press). Fast Periodic Stimulation (FPS): A highly effective approach in fMRI brain mapping. Brain Structure and Function.
  8. Jonas, J., Jacques, C., Liu-Shuang, J., Brissart, H., Colnat-Coulbois, S., Maillard, L., Rossion, B. (2016). A face-selective ventral occipito-temporal map of the human brain with intracerebral potentials. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA, 113, E4088–E4097.
  9. Liu-Shuang, J., Norcia, A.M., Rossion, B. (2014). An objective index of individual face discrimination in the right occipito-temporal cortex by means of fast periodic oddball stimulation. Neuropsychologia, 52, 57-72.
  10. Morgan, S. T., Hansen, J. C., & Hillyard, S. A. (1996). Selective attention to stimulus location modulates the steady-state visual evoked potential. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 93(10), 4770–4774.
  11. Muller, M. M., Andersen, S., Trujillo, N. J., Valdes-Sosa, P., Malinowski, P., & Hillyard, S. A. (2006). Feature-selective attention enhances color signals in early visual areas of the human brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 103(38), 14250–14254.
  12. Norcia, A.M., Appelbaum, G., Ales, J., Cottereau, B., Rossion, B. (2015). The Steady-State Visual Evoked Potential in Vision Research: a Review. Journal of Vision, 15(6):4, 1-46.
  13. Regan, D. (1989). Human brain electrophysiology: Evoked potentials and evoked magnetic fields in science and medicine. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Elsevier.
  14. Retter, T.L., Rossion, B. (2016). Uncovering the neural magnitude and spatio-temporal dynamics of natural image categorization in a fast visual stream. Neuropsychologia, 91, 9-28.
  15. Rossion, B. & Boremanse, A. (2011). Robust sensitivity to facial identity in the right human occipito-temporal cortex as revealed by steady-state visual-evoked potentials. Journal of Vision. 11(2):16, 1–21.
  16. Retter, T., Jiang, F., Webster, M., Rossion, B. (in press). Dissociable effects of inter-stimulus interval and presentation duration on rapid face categorization. Vision Research.
  17. Retter, T., Rossion, B. (2016). Visual adaptation provides objective electrophysiological evidence of facial identity discrimination. Cortex, 80, 35-50.
  18. Srinivasan, R., Russell, D. P., Edelman, G. M., & Tononi, G. (1999). Increased synchronization of neuromagnetic responses during conscious perception. Journal of Neuroscience, 19(13), 5435–5448.
  19. Sutoyo, D., & Srinivasan, R. (2009). Nonlinear SSVEP responses are sensitive to the perceptual binding of visual hemifields during conventional ‘‘eye’’ rivalry and interocular ‘‘percept’’ rivalry. Brain Research, 1251, 245–255.

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